Which B&R list do you think makes for a better format?
My restricted list would unrestrict Fastbond, Probe, and Windfall, and restrict Ravager, while unbanning Shahrazad.
As best I could, I used Brian's statements in this forum to construct his B&R list. It has many more banned and restricted cards (including Grave-Troll, Serum Powder, Show and Tell, Preordain, Dack Fayden, etc), but might not even be complete, as he said he might be willing to restrict Dark Ritual, Key, Dark Depths, and Oath, if Misstep were restricted.
Now, quite obviously, the list that makes the 'better' format depends on what you value most. If you are really looking for a very high ratio of games that aren't blow outs - and you are willing to privilege that over the diversity, composition and competitive balance of the format, than maybe Brian's B&R list is the best way to go.
But in my view, that's wrong. Vintage is the last place where you can play with all of the cards, and the deepest value of the format is allowing players to do that to the maximum extent possible while maintaining the competitive balance of the format.
The ideal format lies at the upper right quadrant of this graph:
But on these two axes, I would prefer point A to point B, and it seems quite apparent to me at least, that Brian would prefer point B, as between those two points.
The fundamental problem I have with restrictions that aren't targeted at a dominant deck - or even the best deck - is that they have a tendency to reduce the diversity of the field.
@wfain doesn't believe that. But it's just math:
Suppose the Vintage metagame is composed as follows:
40% Deck A
20% Deck B
20% Deck C
10% Deck D
5% Deck E
5% Decks F, G, and H combined.
If we restrict Deck A, does the metagame become more or less diverse? What about Deck D? It's obviously hard to know without understanding the underlying predator-prey relationships (like in a Rock-Paper-Scissors), but restricting deck A has an undeniable mathmatical effect, assuming it kills that deck.
The metagame share enjoyed by Deck A can't disappear into the ether. It has to go somewhere. Unless Deck B or Deck C swallows up that entire share (extremely unlikely), restricting Deck A will diversify the format. But the same cannot be said for Deck D or Deck E. You restrict those decks, and most of their metagame share is more likely to be gobbled up by the decks above them than below them.
This is math and it's also how magic metagames - and frankly sectorial economics - works. If Lyft were banned tomorrow, Uber would pick up a nontrival % of that market hare. Or, if AT&T were banned tomorrow, the other big 3 cell providers would pick up a good chunk of that that market share, not the companies below them in size.
Sure, we can't know with perfect certainty, but the most probable outcome is the one I sketched. If you think about it and contemplate what I'm saying without trying to actually argue the point for a moment, and consider the analogy I just made to cell companies and ride share market share, I think you'd agree. It's just inductive mathmatical logic.
Here are the metagame shares of Top 8s in Vintage Challenges for the first 6 months of 2018:
17% Jeskai Mentor & other Tx decks
Would the restriction of Bazaar of Baghdad make this metagame more or less diverse? Since Dredge does not predominate, it would almost certainly reduce the strategic diversity in the metagame. This is why restrictions not based on predominance tend to reduce strategic diversity.
maintains the highest % of the metagame according to mtgtop8
Sure. That doesn't actually make it best though, right? Isn't best inherently a nebulous and undefinable value judgement, especially in such an inbred format?
Uh, no. It's not 'inherently nebulous.' There is a well defined consensus on this issue. I mean, have you seen the metagame reports over the years? The fact that you seem to have no insight into this issue - suggesting that 'best' is just a 'value judgment' shows how little you seem to be versed in the vernacular of these conversations. There are literally entire threads on this forum devoted to which metrics are the best performance metric.
The current consensus is that "Win Percentage" is the best metric, but it's very labor intensive and difficult to calculate. The last event for which we have win % rates are the March Vintage Challenges, here: http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/1850/vintage-challenges-march-2018
After that, Top 8 penetration is the most widely accepted measure of performance. I maintain a large spreadsheet that tracks this. At the moment, Shops has by far the largest Top 8 penetration, and has all year.
The DCI also endorses this approach. See: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/august-28-2017-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2017-08-28
Here's what Ian Duke said on behalf of the DCI:
The fact that you are contesting whether Top 8 % is actually a good measure of best deck just shows you frankly ignorant you are about the terms of these debates, and why it is so insanely frustrating to try to talk to you about them. These conversations have been occurring literally over decades.
And see, for one example, this article from 2004: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/vintage/9769_April_Type_One_Metagame_Breakdown.html
In summary, the Vintage Community and the DCI have been using Top 8 % for literally decades as the best readily available measure - albeit imperfect - of performance.
Questions like the one you just asked aren't just annoying, they are so long-ago settled that it's impossible to actually address without derailing threads among people who share a set of assumptions and knowledge that you quite obviously lack.
That doesn't mean that everyone here thinks that Shops is the best deck. PO isn't tremendously behind Shops in terms of Top 8 representation, depending on the month. And any of the decks in the top 3-4 of Top 8 representation may generally have a plausible argument to being the best, in the absence of win percentage data.
But if you look at the data, it's quite obvious that Shops has been the best performing deck over the course of 2018. It's won the most Vintage Challenges (24% out of 33 so far), has the highest Top 8 % (23% in the first half of 2018, and 28% in July), has the highest (known) win percentage (55%), and has the most major tournament victories (so far).
If there is a quantifiable metric by which Shops isn't the best deck, I'm not aware of it.
In that regard, I view the DCI as essentially the Federal Trade Commission - an anti-trust and fair competition regulator.
I find you an advocate [that restriction] should only be used under the most dire of circumstances in order to trust-bust a monoploy (or an over-powered, over-represented strategy) and open up the economy (or metagame) to competitors, while @brianpk80 would prefer to use regulation (restriction) before a monopoly takes root to maintain an open economy. So, I'll stick with my analogy, and I'll continue to not be confused by it, thanks.
That's not even the issue. You don't even understand the terms of the debate in the most basic sense. Brian isn't trying to root out monopolies, proactively or after-the-fact. His concern is the quality of game play. There are certain tactics and strategies he finds fundamentally unacceptable in terms of how they play out on the battlefield. He doesn't view the DCI's management regime in terms of anti-trust at all. The anti-trust analogy is orthogonal to his concerns. The fact that you don't understand this, again, just shows how fundamentally don't really understand what we are talking about.
Would the restriction of Bazaar of Baghdad make this metagame more or less diverse? Since Dredge does not predominate, it would almost certainly reduce the strategic diversity in the metagame.
This is exactly the sort of statement of opinion masquerading as fact that I'm talking about. You present your assumption with some numbers and thereby assume it is fact. It is not. You simply do not know what would happen if Bazaar were restricted (leaving alone the fact that Brian hasn't advocated such a move anyhow). Maybe you're right, nothing else would change aside from Dredge becoming virtually unplayble. But it is impossible to know for sure without the control group (in this case an identical alternate universe without restricting Bazaar). I'll even submit that you are very likely correct that restricting Bazaar would decrease diversity but truly logical thought doesn't present suppositions as facts. You don't allow that you might be wrong about all of this. That's where I have a problem. That's what I'm trying (apparently in vain) to point out.
Your paragraph here is so problematic on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start the incision.
I suppose I'll start here: one way of interpreting your paragraph is that we can't know anything about the future of Vintage. But if that were true, then we couldn't predict what the metagame is going to look like at a tournament next week or how a new card will perform. Yet, there is a long record of prediction on both counts, and I've been pretty successful at both. That's because we have reams and reams of data.
Your training as a historian is not particularly helpful here. Vintage metagames aren't like elections or GDP figures, which can be very unpredictable. They are a function of the card pool, B&R policy, and past metagames. Human history veers in unexpected directions. Vintage metagames generally don't.
Take a look at this year in the Vintage Challenge results. There a few outliers, but if you study the month over month results, the metagames and future results are pretty predictable.
Vintage metagames very rarely undergo radical, unanticipated shifts. They are extremely slow moving creatures that oscillate well within predictable patterns, restrictions and new card printings being the major external precipitant of change.
Again, look at the spreadsheet I just linked. If you look at the patterns, there are unpredictable oscillations within very predictable broad stroke patterns. It's not actually that difficult to predict what the Vintage metagame would look like if you changed any given component.
For example, we know that PO is good against Shops, and Jeskai is one of PO's weakest matchups. (BTW, we know this because we can actually look at match-level results in analysis like this - PO in March had a 41% win percentage versus Xerox decks)). If we know these relationships, then when a restriction occurs, we can fairly accurately predict how that restriction will play out in the metagame.
That's why when Gush was restricted, I made predictions, on this forum, exactly what % of Shops and Mentor would be in the Top 8, and I was correct within plus/minus 5%. It's not actually that hard.
If you understand the relationships between the decks in the metagame, and know the underlying data, then you can get pretty close to an accurate prediction of how a restriction will or will not affect the metagame.
Think about it for a moment: if we couldn't predict at all what a restriction would do, then the DCI wouldn't actually restrict cards to curb dominant decks. After all, if they weren't confident that a restriction would rein a deck in, then there would be no reason to restrict it! So, your entire rant here makes little sense.
In more technical terms, it's called inductive logic. Inductive logic is probabilistic. In the scenario I presented, which was:
Here are the metagame shares of Top 8s in Vintage Challenges for the first 6 months of 2018:
17% Jeskai Mentor & other Tx decks
Would the restriction of Bazaar of Baghdad make this metagame more or less diverse?
Anyone who has studied this format for even a little while can make a highly accurate guess as to what will happen. I'm asking you: what do you think would happen? Do you think that Bazaar's restriction would make the format more or less diverse?
If you think it would make it less diverse, then you've proven my point, that restrictions that aren't targeting a dominant deck actually reduce the diversity of the format. But this was a statement that you loudly contested.
It's not actually that controversial. It's just math and inductive logic. Sure, we can't know it with 100% certainty (but the uncertainty principle prevents us from knowing things with 100% certainty anyway). But within broad strokes, the effects of restrictions are predictable, especially within the first 6 months.
Again, see my analogy to AT&T and cell companies or Lyft & Uber. Taking companies out of the market that aren't dominant tends to move their market share to the bigger rivals, not the smaller companies.
I am super explicit about my values, starting premises and assumptions... But I am trying to demonstrate the costs of alternative preference sets.
You just happen to be doing so without acknowledging that your presentation is supposition, not settled fact.
If you understand what I was saying, then you'd realize that my premise isn't a fact, and I've never claimed that it's a fact. It's a value. Values aren't facts, and aren't amenable to truth or falsity analysis.
I've been super clear about this. As I wrote in my article:
In my view the goal of any policymaker should be to balance the goal of allowing players to play with as many cards and in maximal quantities as possible with the equally important goal of promoting and enhancing strategic diversity.
Not everyone will shares those two goals. That's fine. As I said, Brian places a higher value on the quality of play, as he sees it.
But it's my job as a format historian to point out the problems with such arguments
Are you an historian, though?
I wrote 800 pages on the history of Vintage (about 30 pages plus several pages of endnotes per chapter for 25 years). You are welcome to read them: http://www.eternalcentral.com/tag/history-of-vintage/
I think it would greatly expand your knowledge of the format (or anyones, for that matter). In fact, I'd appreciate your feedback.
And that's on top of the 350 or so strategy articles I've written on the format since 2002.
Your position is seductive, just like the siren call of nationalism we see around the world. I feel that my position and preference for a smaller restricted list and using restriction as a last resort was hard won, like democracy, but is now in danger of backsliding.
Now who was telling whom not use flimsy and intentionally narrow political analogies? Here again, your approach denotes that you are on the objective/factual/moral side of a binary and Brian is on tfhe subjective/counterfactual/immoral side. Further, by attaching Brian's ideas to those of resurgent xenophobic nationalism in the western world you are not so subtly debasing everything he thinks/writes/claims as backwards, already litigated nonsense and positioning yourself as the vanguard defender of truth, justice, and the American way. C'mon. That's roguishly disingenuous.
Apparently, my parody of your earlier analogy went over your head. Since I told Brian how annoying and problematic the pejorative analogy of being labeled "neo-liberal" was, I suspect Brian recognized my tongue-in-cheek simile here, which partly sought to illustrate that point.